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Superhero names carry a lot of weight, both in their fictional universes and our world. As we’ve seen time and again in comics, sometimes a costumed identity proves more popular than the actual character, leading to the decision to put someone else in the costume, either in an effort to boost reader interest (and, therefore, sales) or to simply take the story in a different direction.
In this week’s Six by 6, we look at six legacy, or “replacement,” heroes who ended up overshadowing their predecessors. Some, such as Green Lantern and The Flash, you may know; however, others may surprise you.
Had anyone suggested a year ago — heck, a month ago — that not only “Green Lantern” but also “Alan Scott” would be U.S. trending topics on Twitter, they’d likely have been soundly mocked. But on the day that DC Comics launched its full-on media assault officially announcing that the 72-year-old superhero will be reintroduced in Earth 2 #2 as the gay-billionaire leader of the Justice Society, “Green Lantern” and “Alan Scott” are on Twitter, sandwiched between “National Donut Day” and “CNBC.”
Granted, “Hal Jordan” is now trending worldwide, with many commenters trying to sort out just which Green Lantern everyone is talking about. One person tweeted, “I’m imagining Hal Jordan spending all day saying ‘No, not me, the other one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Although it’s clear to most fans of superhero comics that the character in question is the Golden Age Green Lantern — the only Green Lantern on Earth 2 — the finer points of continuity and parallel universes seem to be lost on the general public. (Right about now a DC publicity person is probably struggling to give an ABC News correspondent a crash course in DC Comics history, the New 52 and the Green Lantern Corps, frustrating both of them.)
Whether all of the publicity and social-media interest will result in rapid sellouts for Earth 2 #2 obviously won’t be known until next week, but it’s probably safe to presume DC will start the presses rolling on a second printing any moment now.
Tony Stark and Hal Jordan, together at last? Not quite: The big Iron Man/Green Lantern crossover plotted out by writers Matt Fraction and Geoff Johns yesterday exists only in their respective Twitter accounts. But still, it’s fun to read what the writers in charge of their respective universes’ cocky skirt-chasing sci-fi superheroes who are the basis of big blockbuster movies have to say about the two heroes meeting up.
Inspired by Fraction’s facetious tweets about the powers of each of the ten rings wielded by Iron Man villain the Mandarin (including making phone calls that never drop and the ability to TiVo three shows at once), Johns got the ball rolling. Below you’ll find their crossover conversation, tweaked slightly for clarity and featuring guest appearances by editor Steve Wacker and Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis…
Johns: @mattfraction What can the Mandarin’s rings do? Iron Man/Green Lantern xover…!
Fraction: @geoffjohns0 together, all of ‘em can save the direct market…! #LETSDOTHISTHING
Fraction [later]: wait weren’t me and @geoffjohns0 plotting our GreenLantern/IronMan xover in real tweettime? wasn’t mandarin getting a red ring or something?
Johns: Then Hal loses his ring, but finds one of Tony’s suits. And thinks it’s the coolest thing to ever pilot…
Fraction: Tony rebuilds a shattered power battery with repulsor tech and discovers he can make this weird ring do what he thinks…
Stephen Wacker: @GeoffJohns0 @mattfraction SinestrO.D.O.K.
Johns: And the SinestrO.D.O.K. Corps
Fraction: how big of a red ring would a red ring have to be to fit around fin fang foom’s neck like a collar? #blooddragon!!!AAIIEEEEEEEE
Johns: Fin Fang Foom you have great rage in your heart! Welcome to the Red Lantern Corps!
Fraction: “Pepper Potts, this is Carol Ferris. Carol, meet…”
Johns: “Hal? I was,um, just having a drink with…” “Tony. Tony Stark. I hear this ring belongs to you…but I can’t get it off.”
Johns: In the suit, Hal plays chicken with the Quinjet. The Avengers want to know who stole Tony’s armor.
Brian Michael Bendis: @GeoffJohns0 @mattfraction hey!! No quinjet or avengers unless i get some tie in/ spin off action!!
Johns: @BRIANMBENDIS @mattfraction Avengers/Green Lantern/Iron Man We last left Hal Jordan in Iron Man’s armor battling the Avengers…
Red Lantern Fin Fang Foom and the SinestrO.D.O.K. Corps alone make a real-world version of this imaginary crossover worth the price of admission, don’t you think?
Contrary to 50 years of DC Comics continuity, it turns out that Coast City isn’t in California, but rather somewhere in North Carolina. As incontrovertible evidence, allow me to direct you to the website of one Hal Jordan, former Republican candidate for North Carolina’s 8th congressional district.
That’s right, Hal Jordan for Congress. Take that, Oliver Queen!
A conservative businessman, Jordan describes himself as “pro-life, a member of the NRA and a supporter of traditional marriage between one man and one woman.” However, he makes no mention of a career as a test pilot or stint as a spirit of vengeance. In Jordan’s defense, the latter is difficult to work into a brief biography.
None of that matters now, though: Jordan came in third in the May 4 Republican primary, behind Tim D’Annunzio and Harold Johnson, who face a runoff election next month.
It’s probably all for the best, as there was undoubtedly a pesky reporter waiting to ambush Jordan with a question about how an intergalactic police force infringes on the sovereignty of the United States. Either that, or something about Parallax. Stupid “gotcha” journalism.